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Do-It-Yourself PC System: CPU & Motherboard

Dream Performance: Your Very Own Tom's Hardware PC!, Continued

ComponentsManufacturer and ModelPrice
MotherboardAsus A7V, Socket A, VIA KT133 chipset$145.00
CPUAMD Athlon 800 MHz (overclockable to 1000 MHz)$109.00
CoolerSwiftech MC370-0A$25.00
System Memory256 MB PC133 SDRAM$83.00
CaseATX Mid Tower with 300 Watt power supply$55.00
Graphics CardAsus V7700 32 MB, GeForce2 GTS with TV Out$230.00
Hard DiskIBM DTLA-307030, UltraATA/100, 30 GB, 7200RPM$149.00
DVD-ROM DriveToshiba SD-M1402, 10/40X ATAPI$85.00
NIC3Com Fast Etherlink 3C905B-TX PCI (100Mbit/s)$35.00
Sound CardCreative Soundblaster Live! Value PCI$49.00
AccessoriesMouse, keyboard etc.$30.00

This table lists all components used in our Tom's Hardware PC.

Systems offered in current PC magazines and ad flyers reflect the market situation. Almost any shop offers PCs in various configurations within a price range between 700 and 1300 dollars. All these systems show a common characteristic however. The most important components - motherboard, memory and the CPU/cooler unit - are also those parts where assemblers tend to use the cheapest options and thus save the most money. Otherwise, important price points like "$699" or "$999" could simply not be met. Whoever looks for a customized PC solution can hardly avoid assembling his PC by himself!

Please note that, even for less experienced users, it is not all that difficult to assemble and mount all components of a PC by yourself.

We, the team from Tom's Hardware, have built a dream PC for this occasion, which performance leaves behind that of most PCs within the price range in question and considering its performance, our PC is not at all expensive. The costs of all components combined - from the case to the CPU - sums up to a mere $995 . We even overclocked the system and pushed it up to the limits of its performance -without incurring any stability problems of course! We paid special attention to one aspect: This computer had to be very future-oriented and easily upgradeable. This is the one sensitive point for PC buyers: after a year, they have to resign to the fact that their cheap PC is only good for the trash can.

Our series "Do-it-yourself PC " comprises three parts. Part one deals with motherboard, processor, memory, cooler and casing. In part two we recommend powerful graphics cards and give helpful tips. The last part informs about drives, that is, HDDs, CD ROM and DVD drives.